California guidelines outline the child support process in divorce. Here’s how cheating affects child support in California.

California excludes any evidence of cheating in guidelines determining monthly child support amounts, meaning adultery does not legally affect the child support process in divorce proceedings.

What Is Considered Cheating in California?

Cheating is when a married person is sexually and/or emotionally unfaithful to their spouse. “Adultery,” voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person, not their spouse, is the closest legal term to “cheating.”.

Is Cheating or Adultery Valid Grounds for California Divorce?

No, adultery or cheating are not considered valid legal grounds for divorce.

California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning unions can be dissolved if one partner shows the couple has “irreconcilable differences” (cannot get along), or a partner becomes permanently mentally incapacitated. Courts do not consider evidence of adultery in divorce proceedings.

Is Cheating a Crime in California?

No, adultery is not a punishable offense or crime in California except for military personnel under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

How Does Cheating Affect Child Support in California?

In California, adultery does not affect the child support process. However, judges can consider how adultery has affected other aspects of the divorce settlement. For example, partners may be properly compensated for adulterous acts significantly impacting the marital estate.

What is Child Support in California?

Child support is money a court may order one or both parents to pay for the monthly expenses of raising the child(ren). Each legal parent has an equal financial responsibility to provide for their child(ren).

However, a parent must ask the court to issue an order establishing paternity, the formal recognition of the legal parents, before a child support order can be made. A judge may then issue a court order for monthly child support.

Related: Child Support FAQs in California

How is Child Support Determined in California?

California state laws require judges to follow uniform guidelines, also known as the “child support formula,” when calculating child support. Child support can be calculated through a California court’s online calculator. Judges utilize the child support formula to consider net disposable income for each parent and time-share.

Related: How to Get Child Support in California

What is Net Disposable Income?

Net disposable income is the amount of money leftover from income sources after taxes have been subtracted. The costs of a parent paying alimony or support for children from another relationship will also be considered.

What is a Time-Share?

A time-share is the amount of time a parent spends with each of their children each month.

How Does the Amount of Time a Parent Spend with a Child(ren) Affect Child Support?

The amount of hours a parent spends with a child is an important factor in California child support calculations. The parent spending the least amount of time with children may be ordered by the court to pay more child support than the parent spending the most time with the children.

What Expenses are Included in the Monthly Child Support Calculations?

Judges also calculate the following expenses when determining monthly child support:

  • Food, clothing, and shelter
  • Health insurance
  • Back payments
  • Interests on back payments

What are Back Payments in California?

Back payments are missed child support payments. California courts do not tolerate missed payments or refusals to pay court-ordered child support. 10% interest per annum is added to each missed back payment in California.

Is There a Statute of Limitation for Child Support Payments in California?

No, there is no statute of limitation or expiration date when it comes to child support payments in California. Child support must be paid and the parent will be responsible for retroactive payments until fully paying them off.

What Other Costs Can Be Negotiated During Child Support Calculations?

Judges can also help parents include the following costs and expenses into the amount of monthly child support:

  • Childcare
  • Unpaid medical bills
  • Travel costs for visitation
  • Extracurricular activities (clubs, sports, tutoring, field trips, and other activities)

How Long Does a Parent(s) Have To Pay Child Support For in California?

Parents are required to pay child support until the child:

  • turns 18 AND graduates from high school,
  • turns 19,
  • is emancipated,
  • enlists in the armed forces, or
  • gets married.

Related: How to Enforce Child Support in California

Can Child Support Be Modified?

Parents can ask the court to modify the amount of child support paid monthly for a change in job circumstance, employment status, health, etc. A parent can ask for modification by providing current financial information to the court. A judge may hold a child support modification hearing to either grant or deny the request.

How Does Having Additional Children Affect Child Support?

Having another child with a different partner may be a reason to modify the amount of monthly child support. A legal parent financially responsible for multiple children may request a decrease in the amount of child support for such circumstances. Approval or denial of a child support modification request is ultimately up to a California court.

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